Thursday, August 1, 2013

Interface Zero: Upgrade

In order to keep the creative mind active, I've started working more frequently on tabletop gaming and story building.  I use these sorts of things a muse to keep my mind in a particular world where stories happen.  My latest tool for this is Interface Zero; a campaign setting for either d20 Modern or Savage Worlds.  Since I've been keeping my eye on SW for a while now, I figured I'd give the system a shot.

IZ is a cyberpunk setting which attracts me as I see cyberpunk as a step in to transhumanism.  Transhumanism has less "humanity is in decay" and more "humanity is evolving and adapting".  So let's chat about Interface Zero and Savage Worlds.

SW is (in my experience) a step between the utter simplicity of True20 and the more common complexity of D&D 3/4 ed.  There are no levels, but rather "Advances" where you qualify for an upgrade to a stat, skill, or power.  This allows for great character flexibility.  The fundamental mechanic is based on the love of dice.  Traits like Strength are assigned a die type like d4, d6, d8, d10, and d12.  When making Strength checks the player rolls the die type they bought for Strength.  Most target numbers are just 4 so using a d12 makes such checks pretty easy while having only a d4 makes it harder.  When you roll the max on your die type, it "explodes" allowing you to roll it again and add the new roll to the first.  Thus you can pull off incredible acts of success.  Every time you beat a target roll by 4 points it counts as a "raise" with some bonus effect like extra damage or maximal effect.  Raises can stack so beat a number by 8 points and get two raises.  Everything works on this mechanic.

Damage to characters is handled by a wound system where by if your personal toughness and armor are exceeded by the damage dealt then you are shaken and/or wounded.  Incur three wounds and you are incapacitated.  Combats are short once one side gains an advantage.  For its simplicity, SW still contains a lot of nuance that can make every encounter different (players, read the damn rules).

Interface Zero is the setting on top of the system.  David Jarvis of Gun Metal Games ( has fronted this system and scored 7 "raises" on his Kickstarter campaign to fund the second edition printing.  He landed $84,000 in funding for a $10,000 project.  The new beta versions of the setting are just starting to roll out and they look pretty darn cool.  Unlike more "traditional" cyberpunk, IZ pierces space to introduce colonies and space stations.  It also has "gollemechs" and of course augmented and virtual realities.  I've been daydreaming this world for about 5 years so it is fun to see some game mechanics behind so I can actually play in this world.  See you in my own universe...

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